Recently, the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected a registered sex offender’s application to sit for the Kentucky bar exam. Guy Padraic Hamilton-Smith pled guilty in 2007 to a single charge involving the “possessing or viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.” He received a five-year suspended sentence but was ordered to register as a sex offender for the following twenty years. Hamilton-Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2011. Since graduating, he has been working in a non-lawyer position for the Lexington firm of Baldani, Rowland, and Richardson.
The Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions denied Hamilton-Smith’s application to sit for the bar exam, citing character and fitness concerns. The Office also asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to create a rule that would have kept all registered sex offenders from joining the state’s bar, but the court opted against that suggestion. Instead, the court wants the Office of Bar Admissions to consider bar applicants with sex-offender registration on a case-by-case basis.
What were the particular circumstances in Hamilton-Smith’s case that led the Kentucky Supreme Court to deny his application, despite not creating a blanket rule? Was it the right outcome?
[T]he role of the district judge is not to gloss over serious issues for the sake of preventing additional work for the court. Rather, in a criminal trial, the judge is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the constitutional rights of the accused are safeguarded from the whims of public opinion, prejudice, and expediency.
– Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, in an opinion reprimanding Judge David Dudley Dowd Jr. for failing to remove a juror whose comments gave “some indication that he could not decide the case fairly and impartially” (due to its unsettling subject matter, child pornography).
A story that we thought couldn’t get uglier just did. Edward De Sear, a former partner at several top law firms who stood accused of child pornography distribution, pleaded guilty to four counts of distribution of child pornography and to sex trafficking of a child.
One could argue that federal sentences for mere possession or even distribution of child pornography are too high. As noted in a 2012 article in USA Today, in some cases “offenders who possess and distribute child pornography can go to prison for longer than those who actually rape or sexually abuse a child.”
But if you possess child pornography, distribute child pornography, and sexually abuse children in real life, you deserve to go away for a very long time. What kind of sentence did Edward De Sear receive?
* Justice Sonia Sotomayor thinks that the lack of diversity on the federal and state judiciaries poses a “huge danger,” one that might even be greater than her complete inability to dance. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Because “love [shouldn't be] relegated to a second-class status for any citizen in our country,” Illinois is now the 16th state in the U.S. to have legalized same-sex marriage. Congratulations and welcome! [CNN]
* “His discrimination claim was not about discrimination.” After only 2.5 hours deliberating, the jury reached a verdict in John Ray III v. Ropes & Gray, and the Biglaw firm came out on top. [National Law Journal]
* One thing’s for sure: big city bankruptcies ain’t cheap. Detroit has paid about $11 million to Jones Day, emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s former firm, since this whole process kicked off. [Detroit Free Press]
* Baylor Law is being overrun by a colony of feral cats. Someone please tell the administration these kitties can’t be used as therapy animals before finals — students will have their faces clawed off. [Baylor Lariat]
As many of our readers know, the job scene for recent law school graduates is more than a little rough around the edges. The employment rate is still way down for the “lost generation” of lawyers, and desperation and despair have started to rear their ugly heads. In times like these, you may have to do some crazy things just to get noticed by potential employers.
For example, back in July, we told you about a young man named Brian Zulberti. He emailed the entire Delaware Bar in an effort to procure a job, but he didn’t bother to include his résumé. Instead, he attached a picture of himself in a Villanova Law t-shirt, sleeves rolled up and guns blazing. After a quick search on Google, we found this poor young stud’s half-naked photos. His story went viral, and he has passionately (and perhaps foolishly) tried to extend his 15 minutes of fame ever since.
Even though he claims that he’s received several job offers as a result of this whole affair — and no, “not as a [sic] escort” — Zulberti is no longer in search of a legal job. Right now, he’s trying to bring justice to those who have been damned by the perils of social media in conservative professional spheres like the law. He wants these working stiffs to take back their social lives, and once again he’s emailed hundreds, if not thousands, of practicing attorneys, trying to spread the word about his movement.
And he thought the best way to inspire people to join his cause was to post pictures of his penis online…
You don’t often see federal courts striking down conditions of supervised release as violations of substantive due process. But you don’t often see the federal government wanting to hook up a device to a man’s penis, make the man watch pornography, and see what happens. It sounds a bit… 1984 (affiliate link).
I couldn’t help noticing this opinion, given its unusual nature and its focus on the peen. I’m sure you’re all dying to learn more about the procedure known as “penile plethysmography.” (The good news: it’s not as bad as a penile embolism or penile degloving.)
You know you want to see what those Second Circuit judges are hiding underneath their robes. Let’s dig a little deeper (into the opinion), shall we?
He may not look like much, but this little guy’s name is ‘John Holmes’ for a reason.
* A woman and her husband are charged with making dog porn, which is… well, it’s filming dogs having their way with the woman. So if you’re in North Carolina and get called for jury duty, that might be in your future. [Huffington Post Weird]
* Instead of a gun fight over getting cut off in traffic or someone dissing a sports team, this Russian guy opened fire with rubber bullets over an argument about Immanuel Kant. Much more cultured over there. [Critical-Theory]
* Gypsy family tries to pay bail with gold and the state judge cried foul, probably because he feared he was being… ugh. What followed was a thorough investigation of Romany culture. [New York Times]
* Judges in Chicago have to comply with a small sampling of the demeaning security procedures everyone else has had to deal with for the last 12 years and they deal with it graciously throw an absolute bitchfit. I mean, their complaints are sound, but still… [Chicago Sun-Times]
* Man held by authorities for peacefully protesting a photo enforced traffic light. Some things, like a guaranteed stream of city income, are too important to let free speech get in the way. [Autoblog]
* A judge has ordered a new trial for the cops convicted of the Danziger Bridge slayings in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Among the reasons, the prosecutors were writing disparaging comments about the defendants on online comments sections. As if anyone takes internet commenters seriously. [The Times-Picayune]
* Only a few more hours to register for this event featuring Kathy Ruemmler, counsel to President Obama, talking about women in law, leadership, and government. [Ms. JD]
Circles around the water coolers in offices of the federal judiciary are very busy today. It seems that a rumor is circulating about a prominent conservative judge who allegedly posed for nude photographs before heading to law school. The photos, which made their way to badpuppy.com, one of the largest gay pornography sites on the worldwide web, depict a handsome young man staring into the camera, expressionless, his genitalia fully exposed.
If true, this would not be the first time that a respected jurist has inadvertently revealed what lies underneath their robes. Judge Wade McCree of Michigan bared it all when one of his sext messages was leaked to the public. Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas blushed red as a Canadian maple leaf when nude photographs of Her Honor engaging in bondage acts surfaced online.
On the other hand, if the gossip that is making the rounds is true, it would likely be the first time that a federal judge seated on one of the United States circuit courts has been caught with his pants around his ankles — or in this case, with no pants at all…
* The NFL has reached a $765 million settlement with the over 4,500 retired concussion victims whose injuries paved the way for the league’s success. [Sports Illustrated]
* Dennis Rodman confidante Kim Jong-un had his ex-girlfriend executed on pornography charges. Kind of puts the whole “revenge porn” thing in perspective. [The Telegraph]
* A lawsuit against Curt Schilling, based on allegations that he deceived the state into giving his company $75 million, will go forward. Like most conservative Republicans, Schilling saw no problem with taking millions in handouts from the government so long as poor people don’t get $4.50 a day for food. [Comcast SportsNet]
* Judge Mark Bennett (N.D. Iowa) ripped the Department of Justice for creating massive drug sentencing disparities because the DOJ went years without a policy for when prosecutors should double the prison time for repeat offenders. In Northern Iowa, that’s a LOT of meth heads in prison. [Des Moines Register]
* Attorneys for the Governor of Pennsylvania equate gay marriage to letting 12-year-olds marry. Just because a demographic calls everything “gay” doesn’t make them gay. [ABA Journal]
* Study shows academics use lots of adjectives and adverbs. This is really a very terrific and awesome study. [TaxProf Blog]
* REMINDER: OK NYU, Columbia, Fordham, Cardozo, and NYLS students! It’s time to send nominations to us for where you want us to go on the Great Above the Law/Kaplan Bar Review Bar Crawl. Send bar nominations to [email protected], subject: “Bar Crawl.” See you on September 18th! [Above the Law]
* President Obama says he’s not changing his mind on the legality of marijuana “at this time.” I guess we need Biden to go on Face the Nation this time around to get some movement on the drug war. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* California lawmakers are looking to retool its “revenge porn” — the act of posting embarrassing sex pics/videos of a significant other who screwed you over — bill. Now California won’t be able to post all those amateur vids of the organizers behind Prop 13. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* New York just boasted the largest seizure of illegal guns in NYC history because a rapper used Instagram to show the world a whole mess of illegal guns. Sometimes you have to avoid that “pics or it didn’t happen” tweet. [ABA Journal]
* Michael Jackson’s estate is battling the IRS. The article coyly suggests that the estate has told the IRS to “Beat It.” What they don’t understand is the IRS, as a general rule “Don’t Stop ‘Til [They] Get Enough.” [TaxProf Blog]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.